To be built across from Walmart
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
City of Atmore officials confirmed with an “ultra-high degree of certainty” that Jack’s Family Restaurants will build its 11th — and southernmost — Alabama-based fast-food eatery here.
Mayor Jim Staff said the deal is all but done, having come down to some minor amendments to the wording of the contract between the city and officials of the restaurant chain.
“It’s just a language thing now,” Staff said. “The contract has ‘quarterly’ sales taxes, but they pay sales taxes monthly, not quarterly. I hope we can get all that worked out here in the next day or two.”
Birmingham-based Jack’s Family Restaurants, Inc. operates a chain of fast-food restaurants that each offer handmade biscuits and other breakfast items, as well as fried chicken, side dishes, hamburgers and sandwiches, fries, salads and more. The Atmore location will become the company’s only outlet located south of Montgomery.
“I understand it will be a full-service restaurant, with all their regular stuff,” the mayor said. “I’ve never been in one, but I understand they have a fantastic breakfast.”
The incentives the city is providing to the company are virtually negligible. In fact, the company will pay a big chunk of the initial infrastructure costs itself, and the city will repay the company through a sales tax break.
“What we’re paying for is the infrastructure,” he explained. “We’ll be widening Avenue B and resurfacing it. The company will pay for that up-front. Then, instead of paying 4-percent city sales tax, they’ll just pay 2-percent until they get their money back. The sidewalk has to be fixed, and we’ll have to do a little curb work, but it won’t be a lot.”
One of the biggest problems looming as the restaurant chain prepares to locate here, is the site on which it will locate. The restaurant will be built just off traffic-heavy Alabama 21, across the street from Walmart, where no traffic signal exists.
Jack’s will feature right-in, right-out traffic flow, with entry and exit off Avenue B and exit from either Avenue C or from a right turn out of the parking lot and onto Alabama 21. With the retail giant’s local store directly across the highway, and United Pentecostal Church less than two blocks to the north, traffic problems seem inevitable.
The mayor agreed. He said the city is still awaiting final approval from Alabama Department of Transportation officials, who don’t feel strongly that a signal is needed at the location.
“It’s going to be there; it’s got to be there,” Staff said. “We’ve already agreed, and the power company has run its poles up. Everybody’s done with what they were supposed to do, but ALDOT. The state is still not convinced we need a traffic light there.”
City Codes Enforcement Officer Greg Vaughn said Jack’s officials have provided all the preliminary information for the construction project and are ready to go.
“Their building will be about 3,250 square feet, give or take,” Vaughn said. “They have purchased the lot just behind the one the restaurant will be on, the one with the gravel, just off Avenue B. They still don’t have a permit, but they’ve filed their plans and met all the zoning requirements.”
No response had been received by Tuesday’s press deadline to an emailed request for comment from company officials on the new Atmore restaurant.
According to the company website, the first Jack’s Family Restaurant, a walk-up hamburger stand, was opened in Homewood, Ala., in 1960.